After months of barrenness, the Premier League is back. It returned with a doubleheader in which Aston Villa welcomed Sheffield United to Villa Park while the Champions of England entertained an evolving Arsenal side.
The Blades were robbed of a vital away win as goal-line technology refused to award them a blatant goal. In the second match of the evening, the Gunners were thrashed 3-0 by a fluid Manchester City.
The Citizens opened their account through a Raheem Sterling strike as David Luiz misjudged the flight of the ball, allowing the winger to run through on goal. City scored their second six minutes into the second half as Kevin De Bruyne converted a routine penalty.
The game would slow down in pace until youngster Phil Foden added a third in stoppage time. The win for City prolongs the inevitable crowning of Liverpool while for Arsenal the hopes of a top 4 finish have been completely dashed.
Here are a few observations for Manchester City 3-0 Arsenal.
Kieran Tierney showing promising signs
It has been a stop-start season for the Scotsman with several injury setbacks and the fallout caused by Covid-19. Many had even written off the 23-year-old but in only his 12th appearance of the campaign, he put in an encouraging display.
Up against the tricky Riyad Mahrez, Tierney was only dribbled past once. Even when David Luiz was sent off, Tierney was asked to fill in at centre-back and did not look out of place once. In an assured performance, the left-back made 3 tackles, 3 clearances and completed 90% of his passes. If this is a sign of things to come, Arsenal fans can at least be positive about that.
Bernd Leno – Arsenal’s most important player
This is becoming a regular occurrence for Arsenal but tonight, Bernd Leno was the team’s best player. Despite being thrashed 3-0, the scoreline could have been much worse without the German in goal.
The 28-year-old made 9 saves compared to the grand total of 0 for his counterpart, Ederson. Many say Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang is Arsenal’s most important player, but he was nowhere to be seen tonight while Bernd Leno carried his team on his back.
Kevin De Bruyne back to his best
It’s strange to think that the Belgian’s ability is still questioned to this day with his detractors claiming he can only create chances via crosses. Tonight, in another big game, the 28-year-old pulled all the strings for Manchester City.
His driving runs were a thing of beauty as he effortlessly strolled past Arsenal’s makeshift midfield. On his return to football, De Bruyne created 2 chances, completed 2 dribbles, attempted 5 shots, completed 45 passes, and scored 1.
David Luiz disaster class
It is now starting to make sense why Chelsea was so happy to let go of David Luiz last season. The Brazilian defender has often been described as a veteran but against Manchester City, he showed his naivety once again.
Having not even made the starting XI, Luiz came on when Pablo Mari had to come off injured. It was from that point onwards that Manchester City took control and Arsenal’s defensive woes once again came to light.
Not only did he make an error to contribute to City’s first goal, but he also gave away his fourth penalty of the season whilst simultaneously getting sent off. The 33-year-old single-handedly changed the game for the worse, completely disrupting Arsenal’s organisation. It will be a very bold decision from the club to extend the Brazilian’s stay beyond this summer.